Ever looked at a pepper and wondered why each one is so different, even though they look kind of the same? Me neither. Well, it turns out that not only do the different colors mean different things, but peppers are assigned sexes. Here’s me thinking we’ve gone past binary genders.
As it so happens, the female bell peppers are more round, they have four bumps on the bottom. They have more seeds on the inside, and when eaten raw, the female bell peppers are sweeter than the male bell peppers. Knowing this you can put female bell peppers in salads raw, in veggie trays and in sandwiches.
The male bell peppers are taller and thin, they only have three bumps. They are not as sweet, but they hold up better in heat and are better for cooking. They are perfect for stews, dips and general cooking: grilling, frying, smoking, you name it. Chipotle is overrated anyway.
A lot of people wonder why green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers don’t cost the same in the grocery stores. Some people even argue that since they essentially taste the same (completely disregarding the finer intricacies of the bell pepper), they should be the same price.
Margaratge Minnicks writes on her blog that not only does the color and shape change between peppers, the nutritional value does too. The color you choose should depend on how you are going to use it too. Green, yellow, orange and red are the most common colors, but you can also get purple, pink, blue, rainbow, aqua, violet, maroon, white, black, and brown. All depending on when they are harvested.
All these peppers come from the same plant. However, there are two major factors that determine why they come in different colors: time of harvest (as mentioned before) and degree of ripening. As a rule of thumb, all peppers start out gree,n and change colors as they mature. The green pepper changes to yellow or orange, before reaching its most ripened color of red.
The yellow, orange and red bell peppers are more expensive than the green ones, because the red ones take more time to be harvested. The longer they stay on the vine, the sweeter they get and the more nutritional value they have. Also, the different colors have different shelf lives.
Green peppers are the cheapest because they are unripe. The other colors were left on the plant for a little longer respective of the color. They all need additional time and care from farmers. The consumer pays for that extra time on the vine. On average, people purchase more green peppers than any other color.
Yellow and orange peppers aren’t as bitter as a green pepper but they aren’t as sweet. These in-between peppers would be ideal for cooking. The orange bell pepper starts to develop some sweetness and is more expensive. Red is the sweetest and most expensive. Use them both raw.
The additional benefits of having red peppers are that they have 11 times more beta-carotene, about two times more Vitamin C and ten times more Vitamin A than the first-harvested green bell pepper. They have a shorter shelf life, however, so eat them fast.
With that, you’re all caught up on your pepper facts. As fun as it was learning all of this with you, I have to confess: I despise, bell peppers and believe they are the spawn of the Devil. Enjoy eating your Devil food.